DEAR ABBY: Service member questions career path and happiness

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DEAR ABBY: I’m ashamed to admit that I’m envious of my younger brother’s recent success. He got into a fantastic medical program, and once he’s completed it, I’m sure he’ll get a great job with loads of perks. I am proud of him and I do love him, but I can’t deny my jealousy.

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I have been in the military for 13 years. It’s been fine as far as financial stability and job security, but my job is dull. I sit behind a desk and essentially push paper as well as perform many other unpleasant military tasks and traditions. I also follow the orders of mostly jackass supervisors.

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Unfortunately, I’ve got it in my head that I need to do 20 years to retire. I fear starting over or taking risks outside the military without a pension cushion. I have spent a lot of my life envying the success of others. They always seem to be very happy or at least doing better than me. My brother is the most recent one.

This feeling of jealousy and, dare I say, mild depression has affected my personal life, too, as I have become very introverted and don’t like talking about myself or contributing much to conversations. I know this is a broad description, but any advice or guidance would be greatly appreciated. — LOST IN THE EAST

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DEAR LOST: The time has come to do some work on your self-esteem, my friend, and stop comparing yourself to others. What you are doing to yourself is a waste of time. You chose your career for intelligent reasons. Many people would like to be able to retire at 40(ish) with a guaranteed income before deciding what other fields they would like to explore. You are well on your way to achieving the goal you set for yourself.

If you are in a position to schedule some sessions with a mental health professional away from where you are stationed, it could improve your relationships with others as well as yourself. Please consider it. No matter how financially well-off a person appears to be, there is always someone richer, but not necessarily happier.

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DEAR ABBY: My in-laws constantly invite themselves to stay at our home. Hubby’s mom has a rule that guests strip their beds the morning they leave. This is something I don’t, as the hostess, want them to do. They know it, but give me constant grief about it. Recently, my sister-in-law went ahead and stripped the sheets. I didn’t realize it until after they left. It made me feel disrespected.

What should I do about them mowing over my boundary? (Hubs sides with them, but frankly, he is a momma’s boy). What do I say next time the cheapos (oops, the “thrifty travellers”) ask to stay? By the way, I have never stayed in their home. — TRAMPLED BOUNDARY

DEAR TRAMPLED: I don’t blame you for being annoyed. It is time to have a talk with your sister-in-law to explain how offended you were that she disregarded your wishes when she visited. Tell her it made you feel disrespected, and that if it happens again, you’d prefer she stay elsewhere. She may not like it, but it’s your turf, your rules.

— Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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